Attending this University was one of the best decisions that I have ever made! I was able to live in Madrid while obtaining a Masters Degree, and gained additional work experience while learning Spanish virtually free of cost. It was a busy year for sure but I still had time to travel, make friends and enjoy the city of Madrid. The best part is that after graduating I submitted my transcripts to WES and they were internationally accredited!
I would describe the school as a work/study program. You teach ‘full time’ (18-24 hours) at a school and the University takes part of your salary to pay for tuition, you get to keep the other part. To make up for the cost of living/traveling most students taught private classes on the side (it’s totally doable). I never would have been able to get a degree of this caliber in the United States and graduate with no debt!
I greatly appreciated the work/life balance. On average we were at the University for a full day once a week and then completed the assignments and group discussions online. We took two classes at a time so we could really focus on the subject matter and apply it to the schools that we were teaching at during the week (our internship).
I did the Masters in Bilingual and Multicultural Education. It’s important to realize that this is Graduate School. Your professors aren’t going to push or scold you here. However, if you show a vested interest in the subject matter then they are happy to go above and beyond to provide you with all the material and knowledge in their arsenal. I had the opportunity to speak at a University Conference and rework my Thesis into a published piece. I also partook in the optional TEFL Certification. Because many of my classes counted towards the certification I only had to do a little bit more work to get a TEFL in addition to my Masters. Basically the opportunities are there if you want them and take the initiative.
After graduating I decided to spend an additional year in Spain so that I could focus on learning Spanish. That summer I worked as a camp teacher and to my surprise in the fall I received a call from that language school. Apparently their Assistant Director of Studies had quit and as the owner was going through all of the resumes on file mine stuck out because of the Masters Degree from Alcala. I interviewed, got the position and spent a year in this role. I worked with the Spanish Military, NATO, Government and Private Schools, Businesses, and more summer camps. It was a huge resume booster and I would not have been offered that position without the degree.
I then returned to the United Sates and began the job search armed with my accredited Masters Degree. Through informational interviews, visits to Universities and discussing with potential employers everyone was incredibly impressed by what I had accomplished at Alcala. That was my selling point and what helped me stand out from other applicants. In one week I will start a job working for General Electric as a “Senior Immigration Specialist” and living in my dream city. My interviewers all commended me on the degree from Alcala and were interested to hear all that I did and learned there. My pay grade is the highest they offer for this position because of my education.
I cannot say enough good things about the program. Yes, it was stressful at times, yes money was tight at times and between being in school full-time and working full time I was often exhausted. However, I was living life! I look back at that year and cannot believe how much I accomplished, and how much I grew both professionally and personally. I keep in touch with my classmates and look back on pictures of that year with the warmest memories. It was one of the most rewarding years of my life both at the time and now because so many more doors are now open to me.